Welcome to the Year 2011!! Happy New Year!
Programs Particularly for PUIs (Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions)
(from the 9/15/2010 issue of the Research Development and Grant Writing News)
Some agencies have special mechanisms and programs to fund PUIs. NSF has the
Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program. The Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI)
activity supports research by faculty members of predominantly undergraduate institutions
through the funding of: (1) Individual and collaborative research projects, (2) The purchase of
shared-use research instrumentation, and (3) Research Opportunity Awards for work with NSF
-supported investigators at other institutions (usually funded as a supplement).
All NSF directorates participate in the RUI activity. RUI proposals are evaluated and funded by
the NSF programs in the disciplinary areas of the proposed research. To apply for these grants,
the PI applies to the RUI solicitation above, but selects a particular disciplinary core program
at NSF (programs that fund unsolicited proposals; see the accompanying article on unsolicited
proposals for more information on finding core programs) on the table of contents page under
“program”. The PI should follow the proposal window or target date specified by the disciplinary
program. (Note that you must include an RUI impact statement and certification of RUI
eligibility as part of your proposal.)
In addition, many solicited programs such as NSF’s CAREER do not allow an RUI designation,
but nevertheless strive to award grants to RUIs as part of their general goal to fund a diverse
range of institutions. CAREER program officers expect review panels to judge proposals from
an RUI faculty member in the context of his or her institution’s mission. Therefore, it might be
expected that a CAREER proposal from an RUI would have a more comprehensive education
component and a smaller research scope, although the research must still be of high quality. It
might also be expected that an RUI faculty member with a heavy teaching load would include
funds for release time in her CAREER proposal budget, while requests for release time by a
faculty member at an R1 institution who already has a relatively light teaching load might be
viewed as a troubling lack of commitment to teaching. In this way, proposals to NSF from RUIs
are not necessarily judged by the same criteria as proposals from R1 faculty, even though the
quality of such proposals must still be excellent and the reviewers must be convinced that the
PI has the resources and infrastructure required to accomplish the proposed research.
NIH does not have a program specifically for PUIs, but they do fund
Academic Research Enhancement
Award (AREA) grants. Academic institutions that have received less than $6 million
in funding in 4 out of the last 7 fiscal years are eligible to apply for these grants. The list of
ineligible institutions is posted on this page under “Eligibility.” You can find success rates for
AREA grants by year and institute by going to the same page and scrolling down to “AREA
Data” and clicking on “Success rates.” The full Program Announcement is here.
For more information on assessing your strengths at PUIs, please check out the article on page
42 of the Research Development and Grant Writing News on the Grants Office website.